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Web letter by Jerry Stidman: Citizen action needed to keep post office running

Our campaign is to keep the post office in its current form. We believe it is possible for the postal service to continue doing business the way it always has with very little change in structure.

“Save Our Post Office” is a loosely knit social movement of concerned citizens who believe the post office can be financially stable the way it is. We believe one of the main reasons the postal service has financial problems is HR 6407, passed during the lame-duck session of Congress in 2006. It was passed by a voice vote, so it is difficult to even determine who actually voted for the bill.

The basic premise of HR 6407 is the U.S. Postal Service must pay $5.5 billion a year for 10 years. This is a prepayment into retirement accounts to pay for the next 75 years. This is a burden no other business or government agency has to endure. In fact, it has been estimated in recent years the postal service would have otherwise made a $750 million profit. It is our goal to see HR 6407 repealed.

Ultimately, what we would like to see is the continued delivery of mail six days a week. The postal service is the only delivery company with delivery on Saturday. In fact, UPS and FedEx use the postal service for last-mile delivery in many situations. Thus, eliminating six-day delivery would also hurt our competitors.

Another area we want to see the post office continue service is to continue to maintain its highly structured mail processing plants. The mailing industry is a $1 trillion industry that employs more than 8 million people. In the next few months to two years, the post office wants to close about 250 mail processing plants. This would be like closing 250 small factories at the same time. How can this be a good thing for an economy that is already struggling? And what if our economy actually recovers at some point? The post office would be at a serious shortfall in its capacity to process the increased mail volume.

The postal service wants to cut retail hours in smaller post offices and rural areas. In fact, they want to close 3,500 post offices in rural areas. This is a travesty. The post office is required by law to provide universal mail service, meaning they must provide some means to get mail to every citizen of the entire country. How can they do this if they close such a great number of post offices? Those who suffer the most will be the elderly, who are less Internet savvy.

Probably the greatest irony in all this is constitutional. It is the direct responsibility of Congress to be a good steward of our postal service. Yet they chose to pass a bill to hamstring the post office and didn’t have the decency even to associate their names to the vote. The Constitution states Congress shall have the power to establish “post offices and post roads.” The postal service is one of the few government or quasi government agencies that brings in revenue. The U.S. Postal Service is a $63 billion industry that the American citizens own; Congress is simply the steward of maintaining it.

Hold the new Congress accountable for how it handles your mail service. To learn more about our cause and how you can help, and on Facebook.


American Postal Workers Union

Terre Haute